Possibly the best sushi I have ever had thus far! Until my first visit to Izaka-ya, I thought every other sushi restaurant I’ve been to was fabulous. Never before have I tasted such fresh ingredients, as though there was a huge pond in the kitchen where the fish on your plate had just been plucked from. Every taste bud comes to life with each bite taken. Washing down your favorite menu items with a bottle of hot sake is always a must. With more than 5 different locations, Katsu-ya does it right every time.
For your first time, start out at Izaka-ya on W3rd in West Hollywood. Always having to wait at least 30-40 minutes for a table, take a walk down the block to St. Nicks Pub where a Jack and Ginger cost $7 and served as a double. By the time your done sucking down your pint sized drink, take a stagger back down the
block and your table most likely awaits. Don’t expect for a quiet table and do expect to shout your whole conversation, this place is quite noisy. However after making a few appearances you’re sure to be recognized by the staff and always treated with a smile. After you’ve been lured in by the magnificence of raw fish, you’ll for sure venture to the original Katsu-ya in Studio City. Tucked away in a strip mall, the line is pouring out the door with very hungry people. Having actually made a reservation, unlike W3rd location where its virtually impossible before 9:30 to get one, my wait was still around 15 minutes on a Monday. These two native restaurants by Katsu-ya are by far better than his bigger, recent establishments that is now a home for A listers and paparazzi. When dining in Glendale at the towering 2 level with outdoor seating Katsu-ya, the authenticity had vanished. Actresses as waitresses, instead of the barely English speaking ones, is the first step towards knowing you’ve entered a main-streamed restaurant. While sushi still tastes great its about $5-$6 pricier. Master Sushi Chef Katsu-ya, now joined forces with restaurant designer Phillipe Stark and everyone wants to jump on the Izaka-ya by Katsu-ya train.
Sticking to the smaller locations you’ll find the food much more exquisite. Start by ordering the Kabocha. It’s not on the menu but you’re server will know exactly what you want. Japanese pumpkin sliced , seasoned to perfection and served warm. Never has pumpkin tasted so outstanding. A big board on a stand arrives at your table with a plethora of sushi, sashimi, special rolls, warm dishes and handy recommendations. The Yellow-tail Belly sashimi dipped in soy melts like butter on your tongue! My absolute favorite roll is the Creamy Salmon: plump salmon mixed with red onions and a white sauce tucked between soy paper and rice is the perfect roll. I particularly enjoy this as a hand roll but the cut roll is fab as well. The Fresh Water Eel sushi is to die for and always served crispy with a dash of sweet eel sauce. Love caviar? Then the Salmon Caviar is a definite! A creamy crab/onion mixture stuffed inside individual salmon sashimi pieces topped with black caviar, sits atop several slices of cucumbers with a side of seaweed. When dining in Studio City the recommended White Fish sashimi is the way to go. Lemony white fish with thinly sliced red tomatoes and yellow peppers! Of course a sweet ending is possible. Individual Mochi in Vanilla, Chocolate and Green Tea is served sliced in half and oh so yummy!
8420 W3rd St, Los Angeles Ca 90048
323 782-9536…Lunch: 12pm to 2:30pm (Mon-Sat) Dinner: 5:30pm to 11pm (Mon-Thurs) 5:30pm to 11:30pm ( Fri-Sat) 5:30 to9:30pm (Sun)